My next series of blogs will focus on the conversations you have in your workplace or at home. Well structured conversations can be productive, and save time and energy. Others can be INTERESTING, but not particularly USEFUL.
There are three things that you need to take care of when you help and support people through really powerful conversations.
Firstly, you need to make sure there aren’t any emotions getting in the way. Any strong emotion – positive or negative – reduces the capacity of our brain to process and be logical. Balancing the emotional content of a conversation is the first critical step. One way to do this is to help the other person to label their emotion – to get it out there and hence, begin to let it go.
Secondly, you need to ask questions that take people into a zone of reflection. It is in the reflection space that people are more likely to have AHA moments, or get motivated to take action. Having a conversation (or meeting) where the answers to your questions just roll of the tongue, or lead into the detail of ‘the whole story’ is not a productive space to be in. Ask questions like….’What is the most important thing that has to change here?’ or ‘Do you know what to do next?’ or ‘In one sentence, what is the real dilemma you have?’
Thirdly, as much as possible you need to be using ‘their thinking‘ not yours. For those of us who have children, we all love our own more than other people’s children (well, most of the time!). And why is that, because they are ours! Ideas are the same, we will engage with thoughts, ideas and solutions that are ours much more than if we are told what to do.
Our program ‘B.E.T.T.E.R. Conversations (TM)’ is our process for teaching our clients how to have those really powerful and productive conversations. We will unpack that process over our next few blogs.
Have a go at having a great conversation today using these three ideas!
Well, we are almost at the end of February already!
How many goals, or resolutions did you set for yourself or for your team for 2014? 1…10….100!
Our brains are designed to avoid change, and can become easily overwhelmed easily when dealing with too much change.
Try listing your 2014 goals and resolutions and have someone else read them back to you (or put them on post-it’s and stand back to see the bigger picture!)
What do you see/hear? What is your ‘big picture theme’! Create a word or phrase that represents YOUR theme for 2014.
Once your have your theme, you can focus your efforts on looking for, and making decisions around opportunities that fit with your theme. One theme is much easier for your brain to deal with, and allows for much more creativity and flexibility in achieving success.
My theme for 2014 is PROFILE. I am deliberately looking for and making opportunities to increase my profile in my chosen industry, and hence my credibility – this is a small part of my bigger plan, but gives me a criteria on which to make decisions about the opportunities that do present themselves.
So again, what is YOUR theme for 2014? What will help you or your team to move forward this year?